Study: Colonoscopies may be over-prescribed

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that upwards of 40 percent of colonoscopies performhome care omahaed on seniors between 76 and 85 years of age may be inappropriate under current guidelines. Even though a colonoscopy is a routine procedure every five to 10 years for many adults over 50, another study by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that those over 80 were at 50 percent greater risk for developing colon-related complications than those aged 60 to 69, as reported by the AARP.

But the question on the minds of many here is whether the uncomfortable procedure is worth it for those over 75. One example would be if colon cancer is detected, the surgery to treat it is painful and could lead to other complications, especially if an elderly person already suffers from other terminal conditions. When someone is nearing the end of their life, it’s important to remember it’s OK to say no to certain treatments. Of course, have thorough conversations about the subject with physicians and family before making any rash decisions.

Colorectal cancer stats (via the CDC)

  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading caner-related cause of death among men and women in the United States and the third most common cancer among men and women in the U.S.

2009 numbers (most recent that are available):

  • 136,717 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the U.S. (70,223 were men and 66,494 were women).
  • 51,848 people died from colorectal cancer in the U.S. (26,806 were men and 25,042 were women).

On the encouraging side of things the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for more than 20 years, according to Cancer.org, and there are currently more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer living in the U.S. today. This is likely due to factors such as screenings that allow more cancers to be found earlier (when it’s easy to cure) and recent advancements in treatment.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

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